SNEWS has confirmed the April 8 newspaper report in the Portland Oregonian that Buck Knives is looking for a new home.
We contacted C.J Buck who told us that, "Buck Knives has been working to create a new business model for growth into our future. We have taken a two-pronged strategy dealing with revitalizing our brand and globally competitive world-class manufacturing. Our marketing team has been charged with combining real life experience and expertise and our manufacturing excellence for award winning new products and market category approaches. This is the direction that has engaged Pete Whittaker and the Buck/Whittaker line of products for our outdoor category."
"Our manufacturing team is tasked with maximizing our value to cost ratio and that has prompted a complete overhaul of how we move product through our facility, some term it lean manufacturing, others just call it common sense. Reducing inventories and improving our response times allows us to increase our finished goods inventory position and quickly respond to our customer demands."
"This efficiency in our new layout dramatically reduced the space needed and prompted us to look for a smaller facility, both in state and out of state. No final decisions have been reached at this time but due to the high energy costs here in California, out of state is very attractive. Our (El Cajon, Calif.) facility is currently listed for sale as part of the search for a smaller facility."
The Oregonian listed Bend, Ore.; Post Falls, Idaho; and Spokane, Wash., as possible destinations.
SNEWS View: Though Buck did not confirm the number, insiders close to the company tell us the electricity bill for the company was close to $500,000 last year -- thanks to the energy crisis. Those kinds of numbers would affect any company's bottom line and could then encourage companies -- as we know many are -- to look outside of the state for more energy pricing stability. Oregon offers close proximity to other knife manufacturers -- Kershaw, Gerber, Leatherman, etc. -- which could prove attractive. However, Oregon is not very keen on corporate tax incentives. Idaho, on the other hand offers cheap energy costs via hydroelectricity and the state has proven willing recently to make tax concession. Washington? None of the above, but it is close to skiing in Canada and rumor has it the Buck team loves to ski. If we were a betting team though, our money is on Idaho.